Sunday, May 19, 2013

Margaret Kicked the Diaper Habit

If Margaret (26 months tomorrow!) had been my first child, I would think I was a Really Good Parent and, specifically, excellent at potty training. This would have been terrible for my pride and my soul, so I thank God that he didn't give me darling Margaret first.

She was not my first so I know her mostly charming and docile personality is hers to claim and the fact that potty training has gone so easily is in large part due to her.

She was obviously ready to be done with diapers six weeks before Joseph was born, but I couldn't manage potty training when I was so big and cumbersome. I tried briefly about six weeks after the baby was born, but I couldn't manage it then either because the baby still needed to be held all the time. This week I realized that, at four months old, Joseph is happily set down much more often, freeing up my hands, and we happened to have an entire week with nothing on the calendar: I grabbed my opportunity!

Two wonderful aspects this go-round: For some reason, Margaret has the agility already to do all her own undressing and dressing, getting up and down from the Regular Potty (she has skipped the toddler potty because she wants to be like one of the gang), and all steps of washing her hands. Also, I now have the frequent and cheerful help of the big sister whom I potty trained a mere two years ago! Mary is my super helper, escorting Margaret to the potty when I am nursing, cooking, or otherwise in the midst of something. I had heard of this from other mothers of older children, but it was like a dream, something I couldn't even imagine. Just think, in a kid or two more, I can probably assign one of my older children to potty train the toddler!

Day 1: I took away diapers cold turkey. Margaret had many accidents. I offered her a chocolate chip for each time she used the potty. At first she didn't care for the reward, so I began giving all the kids a chocolate chip for pottying and immediately she wanted to be part of the group.

Day 2: A few accidents, but many successes.

Day 3: Margaret stayed dry all her waking hours in the day!!! She wore a diaper for nap and overnight, but that's totally okay with me at this stage. I am still doing most of the initiating to use the potty, but I'm only having her do potty checks every two to three hours. In my experience, the learning toddler will start out with me doing all the initiating and slowly transition to initiating more and more herself till I only have to require potty checks before we leave the house for an outing (which I hear mothers still need to require for years and years . . .).

Day 4: Dry all day, even when we went on an hour-long outing in the neighborhood (although it did involve walking, not sitting in a car seat--I have found sitting in car seats to trigger accidents in potty training toddlers).

Day 5: Survived her first outing (to a store, two hours out of the house) and had only one accident (on another three-hour outing, when she was sitting in the car seat).

Day 6: Had one accident. Stayed dry during nap time for first time ever (not even my current goal). Then stayed dry overnight!

Day 7: Had one accident, but stayed dry during three outings! Forgot all day to ask for a chocolate reward, so I stopped offering them. Also, she began skipping the step of telling me she had to go potty and began taking herself to the potty and doing everything on her own.

So, I'm calling this one folks! It may be early, she's still learning, but this one is potty trained! Thanks almost entirely to Margaret, just a little bit to Mama, we can say sayonara diapers!


  1. YEAY!!!! I'm STILL struggling with Jamie!!! And he's going to be FOUR in September. He KNOWS what he needs to do. And he's proven that he can do it. But he "regresses," and it's oh so frustrating. I think it's turned into a power maybe a little jealousy over Baby Alice? Emma was SO day, she decided she was done with diapers, and that was it. But Jamie...oh so stubborn!

  2. Hooray!! Congratulations Margaret! My third was an average age for potty training for our family (21 months), but he stayed dry overnight immediately whereas the older two didn't for a long time. I think there's something about being the third child that's motivating to them. I'm curious to see what #4 does!

  3. She is way more mature than Malcolm. Malcolm is more like a 12 month old than an almost 26-month old.

    Way to go!

  4. Congratulations! We're working on Philly but she is off and on with successes. I think it's just because I'm exhausted.

  5. "At first she didn't care for the reward, so I began giving all the kids a chocolate chip for pottying and immediately she wanted to be part of the group."


  6. Awesome! Aidan (32 months, so older than her, but I wasn't pushing it!) also is trained this week! Similar experiences...